Posted by: marcmwm | January 13, 2009

Podolak retires (with Barta, Dolphin reaction)


Iowa radio football analyst and legendary Hawkeye Ed Podolak has retired from the booth in the wake of post-Outback Bowl bar photos.

The University of Iowa made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.

“We had been talking about all sorts of different scenarios moving forward, but they all became moot when we talked Sunday,” Iowa athletics director Gary Barta told The Gazette on Wednesday. “He called and said, ‘I’ve just decided I’m going to retire.’ “

The Gazette was told Podolak, 61, did not want to deal with any possible reprimand or sanction and will instead focus on a business venture in California. He commuted to Iowa games from the San Francisco area all season and that, according to a source, took a toll.

“I have notified Learfield Sports and the Iowa athletic department of my retirement from the Iowa football broadcasts,” Podolak said in a statement from the UI. “My multiyear contract with Learfield has expired and I will be 62 this year so it seems like a good time for a younger ex-Hawk to fill the spot.

“I have been wrestling with retirement through last fall as I have relocated my real estate business to northern California. The resulting commute to the Midwest each weekend has been challenging.

“I wish the Hawkeyes the best and will attend as many games as my schedule allows.”

Barta wouldn’t discuss if his talks with Podolak included any sort of discipline since the Outback Bowl photos surfaced last week. He said “many scenarios” were talked about.

A reprimand would’ve come from the UI in conjunction with Learfield Communications, which is technically the company that employs Podolak, a former Hawkeye running back and quarterback.

The UI doesn’t have the contractual right to remove a member of the Learfield broadcast team, but Iowa does approve Learfield’s talent. Legally, Podolak is an independent contractor for Learfield, but the two organizations collaborate on such decisions.

Podolak’s popularity with Iowa fans is off the charts. According to a source, Podolak would’ve had many members in the Hawkeye community come to his side.

“Ed and I had conversations about those photos over the weekend,” Barta said. “Maybe the conversations wouldn’t have occurred as quickly or in the same timeframe, but at the end of the day, we talked about several scenarios, but they became moot when he said he was going to retire.”

Three pictures of Podolak, including one in which he is looking down the blouse of an unidentified woman and another in which he appears to be intoxicated, started making the rounds on the Internet last week.

“I saw the photos. I was very disappointed in that,” Barta told The Gazette on Sunday. “Obviously it’s not the image that we expect to represent.”

In September 1997, Podolak was arrested for public intoxication and interference with official acts after Iowa City Police found him asleep on the UI’s Pentacrest. He pleaded guilty to both charges.

“Eddie’s been talking about retirement for two years, so I knew this day would come, I just didn’t think it would come this quickly,” said Gary Dolphin, Iowa’s play-by-play voice and Podolak’s partner in the booth for the last 12 seasons. “It’s a very sad day, Ed’s at peace with his decision and that’s good enough for me.

“He was a brother in broadcasting. We were joined at the hip in and out of the booth. He, like me, is small-town Iowa and loves the Hawks.”

In Wednesday’s statement, Barta focused on Podolak’s radio career and passion for Iowa football.

“Over the weekend Ed Podolak shared with me his desire to retire as our football color analyst, a position he has held for over 25 years,” Barta said. “He indicated he felt the time was right for him to step aside and devote more time to his business and other personal interests.

“It’s hard to put into words what Ed has meant to Iowa football, both as a player and a radio personality. His knowledge, insight and wit will be sorely missed when Hawkeye football is on the air. He has the unique ability to talk to Iowa fans in a way they clearly understand. He never hid his passion for the Hawkeyes and for that we’ll be eternally grateful.”

Iowa officials wouldn’t comment on a possible replacement, though the person will likely be a former player. Some of the logical names would include quarterback and Des Moines resident Chuck Hartlieb, defensive back Eric Thigpen, who’s co-hosted the Golden Harvest Hawkeye Huddle postgame show on WMT, and tight end Marv Cook, head football coach at Iowa City Regina who has done TV work with Iowa football.

“We’re looking for someone who has all the things that Ed brought to the air,” Barta said. “We’re looking for someone with great working knowledge of the game, someone who has incredible passion for the Hawkeyes and someone — and this is the part that’s hardest to find — who has the ability to take the knowledge, take the passion and bundle it up into a fun, exciting delivery over the air.

“Ed was fantastic at those three things and we’re looking for somebody who did what Ed did. Made it fun and exciting but had so much knowledge that it was legitimate.”

Barta would like to target the Hawkeyes’ spring game, so the new person and play-by-play voice Gary Dolphin would have some time behind the mic before the 2009 season begins Sept. 5 against Northern Iowa at Kinnick Stadium.

“In 36 years of play-by-play broadcasting, I’ve heard most of the good ones who’re college football analysts,” Dolphin said. “Eddie is in his own area code. He’s the best at painting the picture a fourth grader or senior citizen can understand with ease.”






  1. That’s too bad for Ed.

    Why is this incident different than any of the other things he’s done over the years? I saw him in the north parking lot after games many times and he was always feeling good but no one B&M’d then did they?

    I saw the pics and he wasn’t doing anything wrong was he? And the university doesn’t employ him do they?

    Yes, I know all of the arguments, just playing devils advocate early in the morning!

  2. Marc, your headline should read “Podolak Forced to Resign” because that’s really what happened.

    What a bunch of bull. Some one person wanted Ed out and used this as the opportunity to do it.

    No more radio for me.

    Man, this really ticks me off!!!!!

    Seriously, no arrest, no crime!
    Oh,… well….1997…The Pentacrest….
    Who cares? Nobody got hurt then either!
    Put him on one of those celebrity rehab shows and we can welcome him back with open arms at Kinnick this fall, maybe we can even have Dr. Drew host a symposium on alcohol abuse!

  4. What a crock!

    Who’s next? Herky?

    It’s been fun, Learfield. Buh-bye.

  5. I agree, this behavior is nothing new. Ed Podolak is entitled to behave as hs sees fit as long as nobody is being harmed. The young lady certainly didn’t seem to be minding the attention. His actions do not reflect negatively on the University. What a hypocritical stance to take by the athletic department. They should worry about their own house and leave private citizens alone. The broadcasts will be impossible to listen too now because Dolphin is inept and only survives by leaning on the color guy. Ed was the perfect guy for that and I wonder if anyone can fill the void. I guess I will have to go down to the local bar for the games I want to follow now since we don’t want tv in the house. I shudder to think of the behavioral situations I am likely to encounter there. I will be sure to contact the U of I athletic department of situations which besmirch their good name.

  6. I am sorry but I find this ridiculous! The woman was obviously not offended and men do it all the time….he just got caught on camera!! Iowan’s are known to party and that is what he does. He has a good time and LOVES IOWA, what more could we ask for? Personally, I think it is time to get rid of Barta. What has he done for the school? Is he an image we want to represent?

  7. Retirement? Firing?

    I think a little of both. From what I’ve gathered, the UI had something in mind. Ed didn’t want to fight it and instead choose to retire.

    Will that be the story that comes out? Doubt it.

  8. This is simply the first domino falling in the complicated scheme that ends with Podolak as UI head football coach once Captain Kirk flies away to Arrowhead. You just wait!

    On a serious note, who might replace Easy Ed in the booth?

  9. […] permalink Morehouse Blog on the Podolak situation Podolak to retire On Iowa […]

  10. Oh KMA…Barta and those blue noses can GTH. EP was one of the greatest Iowa Athletes ever. He was my insiration in high school and those pics are nothing but BS.

    IOWA is the loser here, well barta is a loser and the state loses a great broadcaster.

    Love U ED!!

    Iowa State ’74

  11. Oh ***…Barta and those blue noses can ***. EP was one of the greatest Iowa Athletes ever. He was my inspiration in high school and those pics are nothing but **.

    IOWA is the loser here, well barta is a loser and the state loses a great broadcaster.

    Love U ED!!

    Iowa State ‘74

    Sorry had to clean up my language, guess U of I can monitor my online comments better than their athletes

  12. Thanks for keeping it clean, Econ. Thanks for posting. Interesting take from an ISU grad. Thanks again.

  13. I am old enough to remember seeing Ed play for the Hawks. I currently live out of state and search the internet to listen to Hawkeye radio. Ed is a great colorman. He brings alot of emotion and passion to the broadcast. I have a tough time understanding why he is being banished from the booth when he is not an employee of the University. I wish him only the best.

  14. And another thing… The season just ended. Eight months will have passed by the time we see the Hawks again. Isn’t that enough time to “forgive and forget?” If this had happened mid-season then maybe, MAYBE I could understand, but at the end of the year? Welcome to the new camera-infused pseudo police state where we all must self censor ourselves every moment of every day so that something you do doesn’t end up on the #@! *%^$ internet and ruin your career.

  15. Seems like it would be justice if we can only get someone to snap a couple of photos of Barta at an I-Club function behaving inappropriately. Or, as far as I’m concerned, it can be at his neighbor’s house during a backyard barbeque.

    Please leave, Gary. Please.

  16. Saw the photos. I don’t think it had as much to do with him pulling a Eustachy and hitting on a much younger woman as it did the bleary-eyed, very obviously drunk state he was in.

    He’s a public figure representing UI (regardless of official employer) and they have every right to expect their reps to not get so wasted they can barely stand.

    I think it’s not just this instance, either, I’m sure we’ve all heard many stories about it other times, too.

  17. […] January 14, 2009 · No Comments Gazette Hawkeye football writer Marc Morehouse is reporting that Iowa color man Ed Podolak is retiri… […]

  18. A huge piece of Iowa football tradition died today. It will never be the same without Eddie. Count me as one that’s listened to his last radio broadcast. Whomever the replacement, they will never measure as you cannot replace tradition. What a hypocritical university on many levels. There will be many longtime fans that are lost by this alone. Eddie was never rumored to be considering other offers. He would have snuffed them as he cared about Iowa first & foremost. The same can’t be said for others.

  19. Eddie P was man enough to stand up and be held accountable for his actions. Now it is time for the idiot who took the pictures to stand up and make himself known. What kind of punk hangs out with a guy and then goes and puts up pictures like that?

  20. Absolutely ridiculous. He wasn’t breaking any laws, he was having fun with some other fans on his own time. The woman in the pictures with him didn’t seem upset by his actions at all, why should anyone else? Eddie was a great color guy and he and Dolph worked well together; this is a sad day to be a Hawkeye.

  21. Ed was forced out…no question about that..this BS about “taking a toll” on him going back and forth from California is ridiculous..

    The UI and Learfield should be ashamed of their actions in treating Podolak this way….and I would urge all alumni who give to the athletic department to either direct their money away from the FB program or refuse to give another dime to them.

  22. Isn’t Thigpen the guy on the golden harvest hawkeye huddle? start the lobbying for him to replace ed.

  23. Yes Scott, that’s Eric Thigpen. I think he might fit the job description to a tee. And, WMT’s Bob Bruce e-mailed me today and said ET would be interested.

  24. No mention of Anthony Herron as a possible replacement? He’s got some experience with the BTN under his belt.

    Please god, don’t let it be Thigpen. He needs to remain on the Huddle to keep Bruce from sounding like an even worse blithering moron than he is.

    What about current Hawk Tony Moeaki? I hear he’s a regular wordsmith with the press…

  25. Vino!!

    I didn’t mention Herron because I would think he’d want to pursue TV, where the money is.

  26. Please say NO to ERIC THIGPEN. The man sounds like a bump on a log. No way he could build on the enthusiasem Dolphin brings to the broadcast.

    It’s almost painful to listen to Thigpen and Bob Bruce because of the tension there is between them. It always sounded like Bruce couldn’t wait for Thigpen to spit the words out so they could move onto the next subject.

    Thigpen would not be a good fit to replace Podlak.

    It was great listening to you ED. We’ll miss you.

  27. I don’t know if Podolak was forced out…he might have decided it wasn’t worth the fight to keep his job and have to live up to the standards Barta expected out of him.

    Personally, I thought Barta should have just said no really is no one’s business what Eddie does in his private life.

    Sad to see him retire.

  28. What happened to Ed Podolak is unfortunate…but I’m disappointed to see so many Iowa fans who think Ed is the victim here, and the U of I Athletic Dept. and Learfield are the bad guys. I represent the many Iowa fans out here who do think our college football announcers should, just like the coaches and players, should hold themselves to a higher standard. My opinion: This guy has a history that repeats itself, so it’s time he’s gone. We deserve better. And, for those staunch Ed supporters, you can take solace in the fact that Ed’s probably better off in Northern California where his inability to use good judgment will likely not draw much attention.

  29. […] apparently Podolak decided to retire (or, if you believe, got urged to leave) as a commentator after Iowa AD Gary Barta expressed a […]

  30. Edward Joseph Podolak has retired?
    Wow! Isn’t that the same story we were fed when RB, now of Sanford (great loyalty there), announced that Zabel, Brooks and Gonder were ‘retired’ and the Hawkeyes were going to go with Learfield?! But what do I know? I’d never heard of Gary Dolphin … and now after 10 years of listening I know why:(
    As for Thigpen … I’m sure he’s a nice guy and might even know alot about UI FB … It’s just been impossible to learn what he knows as that BLOWHARD BB is so insufferable I can’t listen to GH.

  31. We really enjoyed Eddie; he is a true Hawkeye!
    We are so very sorry he will be gone; I kind of think this is unfair. If he were working at the time, they might have had a case, but he wasn’t.
    We will truly miss you Ed; good luck to you, and do come back to Iowa; most fans support you!!

  32. LOVE Eddie. Already miss Eddie. Don’t think consenting adults not breaking the law should be treated in this manner.

    But, I wanna lobby for Tim Dwight to replace Podolak. The next play-by-play guy absolutely has to be a former player, and I can’t think of anyone with more charisma than Tim Dwight.

    Thigpen is a super, all-around great guy. Marv Cook is doing great for Regina’s football program. Chuck Hartlieb was an incredible QB. But I simply cannot picture anyone as excitable as Dwight.

  33. I appreciate the comments from everyone.

    This is a polarizing topic.

    Ed is the best football analyst on radio or TV on the planet. He’s an even better Hawkeye.

    Anyone remember the movie “North Dallas Forty”?

    That’s Ed, in my mind. Work hard, play hard. That just doesn’t translate with college football 2009.

  34. Hmmm…

    This is a polarizing topic.
    I agree EJP is a very good anlayst and great Hawkeye.

    And yes, Nolte played Eddy well in North Dallas Forty…


    EJP isn’t a college player … he’s on the radio.

    GB is scared to death of his shadow/IC PC Police/B of R after ‘fumbling’ the PR side of the recent legal issues within the athletic department.

    “Wait till you see the weird part.”;)

    BB attendance is in the tank, entertainment dollars are getting even tighter, it’s not going to get any less expensive to attend FB games and GB wants $40-ish million to up grade CHA. The dude doesn’t need bad press right now … or worse … Miles and Campbell causing trouble …

    To continue the sports movie metaphor theme …
    “Is this heaven? No. It’s Iowa”

    On Iowa!

  35. Great points, Third. I love that line. I think this movie is criminally underrated.

    Politics and recent climate certainly played a role in this. I think the path is set from here on out, and probably even before. If you’re weirdness, bad judgment or whatever ends up digital and on the ‘net, you’re probably fired.

    Can it be reduced to this, we don’t like it, but it had to be done? It can’t be that easy, no way.

    I’m sure there was some UI “input” on any disciplinary decision Barta’s end. The UI is a consensus-seeking organization. Maybe this was a different animal. Maybe it was unilateral.

    But Ed retired and bailed them out.

  36. Get a grip, he was only on the radio for the football team. Irreplaceable? C’mon.

    You are enabling his bad behavior by making excuses for this type of behavior, which is what athletes are always used to and seem to always get.

    Their is a price to pay for your action, and I am sure this is not the first time he put himself in this position. I like to think the overall sentiment in Iowa would be one of taking responsibity for your actions.

    I agree it is cowardly to take these pictures then post them on the internet, but guess what? That is the world we live in today like it or not public figures need to realize it, live with it, and act accordingly.

  37. […] News of Podolak’s retirement was first reported here. The legendary former Hawkeye all-American and radio analyst for 26 years retired in the wake of unflattering photos that surfaced after the Outback Bowl. Podolak was shown with a female Iowa fan and appeared intoxicated. […]

  38. Who were your favorite relatives?

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